Fianna Fáil’s Communications Spokesperson, Timmy Dooley TD has lambasted the Government for its abject failure in rolling out a national, quality broadband on time.

“For the past five years, successive ministers, of all political colours, and now of none, have presided over a national broadband plan that has failed to start, let alone deliver a service to the Irish people.”

“Accessing quality broadband is a core requirement for small and medium sized businesses across the country. Delays in rolling out a national broadband scheme is damaging the ability of SMEs to grow their businesses, and jeopardising future FDI by corporations who rely on high-speed, broadband to connect their global operations in real-time,” said Dooley.

“Over 900,000 premises and homes, mainly in rural Ireland, require the state to directly provide high-speed, broadband. The commercial sector isn’t willing to support these premises and the State has a duty to support them.”

“Delay after delay has beset the Government’s broadband scheme. First it was 90% of homes and businesses by the end of 2015, then it was 85% by 2019, 100% by 2022.”

“Now it’s looking like 2023, and quite frankly, I don’t know what to believe from the Minister and his department anymore.”

“It seems to me that the only thing the Department of Communications is confident about when it comes to broadband is that it’s a good idea. After that, it’s been a catalogue of delays, announcements, re-announcements and even more delays.”

“It’s time for the Minister to get a grip on this strategically important issue, and ensure that there are no further delays in its roll out.”

“Every effort needs to be made to claw back some of the time wasted as a result of delays. Businesses up and down the country have been waiting for years to access decent, high-speed broadband.”

“The Minister needs to update the Dáil, but more importantly he needs to update the people and businesses in rural Ireland who have been waiting years for fibre-broadband. Further delays are a threat to jobs in areas that are desperately crying out for investment.”

“There’s no doubt that counties across rural Ireland have reduced chances to win IDA-backed foreign direct investment because of poor broadband services. This is an issue bigger than internet access, and requires real movement by the Government, and the Minister,” concluded Dooley.